From the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2021- Global Dementia cases forecasted to triple by 2050

DENVER, Colorado — Positive trends in global education access are expected to decrease dementia prevalence worldwide by 6.2 million cases by the year 2050. Meanwhile, anticipated trends in smoking, high body mass index and high blood sugar are predicted to increase prevalence by nearly the same number: 6.8 million cases. Both according to new global prevalence data reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®) 2021 in Denver and virtually.

With these forecasts incorporated, researchers with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine reported at AAIC 2021 that they estimate the number of people with dementia will nearly triple to more than 152 million by 2050.

“Improvements in lifestyle in adults in developed countries and other places — including increasing access to education and greater attention to heart health issues — have reduced incidence in recent years, but total numbers with dementia are still going up because of the aging of the population,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “In addition, obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyles in younger people are rising quickly, and these are risk factors for dementia.”

The U.S. National Institute on Aging estimates people over the age of 65 will make up 16% of the world’s population by 2050 — up from 8% in 2010.

Also reported at AAIC 2021 were two other prevalence/incidence studies. Key findings include:
·       Each year, an estimated 10 in every 100,000 individuals develop dementia with early onset (prior to age 65). This corresponds to 350,000 new cases of early onset dementia per year, globally.
·       From 1999 to 2019, the U.S. mortality rate from Alzheimer’s in the overall population significantly increased from 16 to 30 deaths per 100,000, an 88% increase.
·       Among all areas of the U.S., mortality rates for Alzheimer’s were highest in rural areas in the East South Central region of the U.S., where the death rate from Alzheimer’s is 274 per 100,000 in those over 65.

Incidence Estimates for Younger Onset Dementia Suggest 350,000 New Cases per Year
Data on younger-onset dementia (YOD), a form of dementia where the onset of symptoms happens before age 65, is extremely limited. To better understand the incidence of YOD, Stevie Hendriks, M.Sc., student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review of all studies published during the past 30 years that reported figures on how many people developed dementia before the age of 65.

Hendriks and team found that, overall, the global incidence rate was 10 new cases each year per 100,000 persons. They also found incidence increases with age. This suggests that around 350,000 people worldwide develop younger-onset dementia every year. Incidence rates for men and women were similar, and were highest for Alzheimer’s disease, followed by vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.
“People living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s face unique challenges when it comes to diagnosis, family, work, finances, future care and — with the recent FDA action — possible treatment options. But support and information is available,” said Kristen Clifford, Alzheimer’s Association chief program officer. “And you have the power to make a new plan and determine how you choose to live your best life with the disease.”

Rural Areas of American South Experience Disproportionate Burden of Alzheimer’s Mortality
Even though average lifespan has been steadily increasing over the past several decades in the U.S., there is an increasing divergence in mortality rates among urban and rural populations. This discrepancy is likely the result of many health disparities experienced by rural residents compared to their urban counterparts, including lower socio-economic status, higher levels of chronic disease, limited availability of internet services, and less access to health services including primary care.

To specifically understand geographic variations in Alzheimer’s disease mortality, Ambar Kulshreshtha, M.D., Ph.D., from Emory University, and colleagues used data from the National Center for Health Statistics to examine trends in Alzheimer’s death rates between 1999 and 2019 by urbanization levels. Kulshreshtha and team found that, from 1999 to 2019, the mortality rate from Alzheimer’s in the overall population significantly increased from 16 to 30 deaths per 100,000, an 88% increase. Rural areas across the United States were shown to have higher mortality rates from Alzheimer’s compared to urban areas. Those rates were highest in rural areas in the East South Central region at 274 per 100,000 in those 65 years and older, more than three times that of urban areas in the mid-Atlantic region in which mortality rates were the lowest.

“Our work shows that there is an increasing discrepancy in Alzheimer’s mortality between urban and rural areas. This discrepancy could be related to, or might be the result of, other urban-rural health disparities, including access to primary care and other health services, socio-economic level, time to diagnosis, and the rising proportion of older Americans living in these areas,” Kulshreshtha said. “Identifying and understanding the reasons for these health disparities is critical for allocating key social and public health resources appropriately.”

This study was partially funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

About the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC)
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of
researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.
AAIC 2021 home page: www.alz.org/aaic/
AAIC 2021 newsroom: www.alz.org/aaic/pressroom.asp
AAIC 2021 hashtag: #AAIC21

● Emma Nichols, MPH, et al. The estimation of the global prevalence of dementia from 1990-2019 and forecasted prevalence through 2050: An analysis for the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study 2019. (Funder(s): Gates Ventures)
● Stevie Hendriks, M.Sc., et al. The incidence of young onset dementia: a systematic review and metaanalysis.(Funder(s): Alzheimer Nederland; Gieskes-Strijbis Foundation; Dutch Knowledge Center on Young-Onset Dementia)
● Ambar Kulshreshtha, M.D., Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Disease Mortality High in Rural Areas in South:
1999-2019. (Funder(s): Alzheimer’s Association)

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